What is Supervised Visitation?

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 What Is Visitation?

Visitation is a predetermined schedule for parents and children after there is separation or divorce. Visitation is mainly set for the parent who does not have primary custody and for the parent who does not reside with the child. There are multiple ways a visitation can be determined.

The following are some examples:

  • A workable and flexible visitation schedule.
  • Reasonable visitation as decided by the custodial parent.
  • A structured visitation schedule to include holidays, weekends, and summer vacations; and supervised visitation.

Although visitation is permitted for the other parent, it does necessarily mean they will be part of the authority in making decisions regarding other aspects of the child’s life. For instance, the parent with sole legal custody can decide on the child’s medical care, education needs, and religious upbringing.

How Is a Visitation Schedule Set?

The main purpose of any visitation schedule is to ensure that it meets the child’s best interests. The courts want the parties to cooperate in formulating the schedule. Some factors to examine while creating these schedules are:

  • Work schedules
  • School schedules
  • Family traditions
  • School and work schedules
  • Distance of the parents’ homes
  • Health requirements
  • Other extended family members who want to maintain contact with the child.

Courts want to assist families that work together to come up with a solution regarding a visitation plan. If they can do so independently, then the courts have mediation resources to finalize their schedules. Remember, each county in the state has certified mediators to provide neutral assistance for parents to meet the needs of their children.

However, if there is a dangerous situation, it must be addressed immediately and taken to the proper authorities. Keep in mind that the court has the discretion to deny any parent visitation based on their case. Generally, this may be for a certain period or until a specific task is completed. There are other specific scenarios where a court will not order visitation. For instance, if a criminal conviction is involved and the parent was determined guilty.

Although, if the parent believes that they have been wrongfully denied parenting time, they can file a petition with the court to modify the current visitation order. The judge will review the supervised visitation based on the child’s best interests. If that parent’s visitation serves the child’s best interest, then the judge will consider it.

Furthermore, the judge can order a supervised visit to take place in a designated facility. A monitor will be present with the noncustodial parent in the room for the duration of the visits.

A monitor can be a relative, friend, or acquaintance for the supervised visitation. Additionally, a social worker will be appointed to the case and accompany the child and parent for these visits. The designated monitor will stay with the child for the entire visit and return the child to the custodial parent. The main goal is to have cooperation among the parties and coordinate to best serve the child.

When Is Supervised Visitation or Monitored Exchange Needed?

Both parents must continue their relationship with their child after their divorce or separation. Arranging a schedule for supervised visits is important for the well-being of the child. The courts do not want to sever the relationship between the families and want to ensure that the child still has access to their parents. In certain cases, judges will grant supervised visitation for the physical and mental safety of the child.

A “Supervised visitation” safeguards the child and protects them from any physical or mental harm due to a parental relationship. Supervised visitation is visitation between a parent and child held at a neutral location.

These visits are monitored by designated people assigned by the court. Court-appointed monitoring during visitation is needed to avoid any unsafe parental behavior or harmful interactions with the child. If you need assistance with this, there are services and resources for supervised visitation centers throughout the state.

Some states have different programs that allow the child to be exchanged and transferred from one parent to the other without the parents having any contact. Monitored exchange happens at a neutral center where the parents decide on the times ahead of time. The drop-off and pick-up times are also arranged so parents do not have to be in contact with one another. The exchange is monitored by the staff members to keep it easy for the child.

What Situations Warrant Supervised Visits?

Certain circumstances require supervised visitation:

  • The parent is struggling with substance issues.
  • The parent has anger issues and has been abusive.
  • The parent has been involved in sexual abuse.
  • There is a history of domestic abuse.
  • The parent is suffering from mental issues.

Supervised visits are meant to create a safe environment for the child and the parent to interact together. The primary purpose is to protect the families and allow them to still have access to each other. For the supervised visits, the visiting parent must report to the assigned visitation center to spend time with the child. The judge has the authority to determine who will be supervising the visits and when they will happen.

Moreover, a judge can order supervised visitation temporarily or indefinitely. All domestic violence allegations will be thoroughly investigated, and visitation will only be ordered after. The courts examine each case and its circumstances for what needs to occur before any visitation happens. Therefore, it is important to resolve any pending issues that will prevent you from spending time with your child.

Suppose a judge has already determined that a parent is unfit for custody. In that case, the judge can still allow visitation on an ongoing basis but require that the visitation is supervised in a controlled setting. In these cases, visitation will remain supervised until the parent can demonstrate that there has been a change in circumstances, such as attendance in a drug rehabilitation program, which impacts the parent’s fitness.

Supervised visitation can be referred to as supervised contact, which is separate from supervised exchanges. The supervised exchanges protect parents from each other and prevent the child from witnessing disputes or conflicts. Some cases need supervising visitation as part of their parenting plan because abuse is involved, and it would not be suitable for the child to meet with the parent alone.

As mentioned, supervised visitation may be necessary when any of the following factors apply:

  • The parent is struggling with drug issues.
  • There has been physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of the child by a parent.
  • A parent has a mental illness that poses danger to the child.
  • There is the risk of kidnapping or abduction by one of the parents.
  • The parent has neglected the child.
  • For the majority of the time, a parent has been absent from the child’s life and now wants to redeem the relationship with the child.
  • There have been potentially dangerous family situations.

However, supervision visitation is not permanent unless rare circumstances warrant it. Usually, it is a temporary arrangement and can lead to unsupervised visits if the parent meets certain criteria. For instance, the parent can be actively engaging to resolve some of the issues mentioned above. They can seek counseling or complete clean drug tests.

When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?

The main purpose, as stated earlier, is to protect the child and serve their best interests. If you have supervised visitations or want to obtain them, you can contact your local child visitation lawyer to assist you with the process. They are necessary for some families and require a court-appointed monitor to oversee the parent and child interactions.

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